Chip Ganassi Racing suing IndyCar champion Alex Palou amid ongoing contract dispute

Ganassi Alex Palou lawsuit
Greg Doherty/Getty Images

Chip Ganassi Racing has filed a lawsuit against Alex Palou, the latest bombshell in its ongoing contract dispute with the defending NTT IndyCar Series champion.

The filing, which was first reported by the Indianapolis Star, was processed Monday afternoon in Marion County Superior Court, according to documents posted on the commercial court’s website. The defendants listed in the civil case are Palou and ALPA Racing in Barcelona, Spain. Both have been issued summons, according to Ganassi’s legal team.

Palou’s services have been claimed by two racing teams for 2023. Ganassi released a statement July 12 that a contract option had been exercised to keep Palou for the 2023 season. In a series of tweets hours later, Palou denied that he would return to Ganassi next season.

McLaren Racing then announced Palou would join its organization next season.

In its court filing, Chip Ganassi Racing has asked the court to seal its motion for preliminary injunction because it “contains confidential business information including, but not limited to, sensitive information that concerns — and is deemed confidential by — the parties’ contractual agreements.”

The team also submitted seven exhibits of evidence in support of its case, four of which were sealed. Three were unsealed: Palou’s tweet thread disputing Ganassi’s announced extension; McLaren Racing’s tweet confirming his signing; and the McLaren Racing release on Palou’s addision.

In the filing, Ganassi also asked for expedited discovery to prepare for a hearing requested before the end of August. The IndyCar season ends with the Sept. 11 race at Laguna Seca Raceway.

In a statement on its court filing, Chip Ganassi Racing said, “Alex Palou is under contract with Chip Ganassi Racing through the end of the 2023 season. He is a valued member of our team, and we will continue to support him in chasing wins, podiums, and INDYCAR championships. As the result of a competing racing team improperly attempting to contract with him notwithstanding the clear terms of our contract, we are proceeding to legal process pursuant to the contract.

“Any and all inquiries on the matter will be handled by our legal counsel.”

Though highly unusual for a racing team to initiate legal proceedings against its driver, the lawsuit was expected. Arrow McLaren SP driver Felix Rosenqvist, whose 2023 racing fate depends on what happens with Palou, predicted after his third-place finish at Toronto that the dispute would be settled in court, and that he believed Palou would be sidelined for 2023 as a result.

Palou has made three starts since the dispute went public, finishing sixth at Toronto and then sixth and 13th at Iowa Speedway last weekend.

The first Spanish champion in IndyCar history also revealed at Iowa that he no longer has remote access to Ganassi’s engineering and setup data.

“I don’t have the access I had before to the data and all that stuff from home,” Palou said. “When I’m here, I have it. Not from home like the same I had before. Which I understand. It’s normal. I think I’d do the same if it was my team. It changed, but I understand it. It’s not that I’m out of meetings and stuff like that.”

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

How to Watch Seattle Supercross
Dylan Ferrandis may return before SX finale
SMX develops “Leader Lights”
Power Rankings after Detroit
Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan
Results and points after Detroit
Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points